Netflix Roulette : The Den (2013)

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While watching this film on a whim last night on Netflix, it gave me the idea to start a new column here on Horror homework. Most of us use Netflix streaming by now, and I always get requests for recommendations for worthwhile streaming flicks on the service.
And I scroll through the endless choices as most of you probably do, waiting for something that stands out or really grabs my attention.
Last night, instead of 45 minutes of scrolling, I just pulled the fuckin trigger and took what they gave me. If you guys are interested, I think I will try and make this a regular column.

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It turns out that The Den is a film with an interesting premise utilizing all the modern technology and gadgets that we can’t live without, well-executed in a stylish manner. The film tells the story of Elizabeth, a young twenty-something journalist who proposes a study project immersing herself in the culture of a huge social website. The Den is something similar to chat roulette and omegle, where anyone can get connected to random people all around the world to befriend, chat with, shown their boobs to, whatever they choose.
Much of the film’s running time is seen through the lens of Elizabeth’s webcam, making this the next evolution of a found footage flick. I know that many horror fans are sick of found footage films, but I personally enjoy them when they are done well (see Willow Creek!). This unique incarnation of the technique works very well, especially considering that the story line requires her to constantly be staring into the camera.

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The likeable character of Elizabeth (actress Melanie Papalia) helps to quickly connect the audience with the world of the film by plugging us right in to her daily life. It doesn’t take long for the dark corners of the internet to rear their ugly heads, and the creepiest part of the film to me was that unmoving avatar staring right into the camera, when Elizabeth has the misfortune of crossing paths with of The Den‘s users known as pyagrl*16.

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Before long, this mysterious user infiltrates Elizabeth’s real life by hacking into her computer and manipulating her whole world easily through her myriad of gadgets. We never hear her tormentor speak, in fact we only know him through the rough texts and horrific videos he tortures her with. Before long, everything escalates and the police can’t do anything to help her as the film reveals itself to actually be a creative spin on the slasher genre.

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One by one, Elizabeth’s real life friends get targeted by this madman who finally reveals himself wearing a very creepy dead-eyed sack mask, but still never speaks. The kills are gruesome, although the found footage aspect of the film becomes questionable and a little shaky in the later scenes.  Some really gory effects and close up shots of the cuts and other methods of torture are executed perfectly and really make your toes curl up!

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The directorial debut of Russian director Zachary Donohue, The Den turns out to be a very creepy statement on our current obsessions with constantly being connected, and preys on modern fears of how safe the internet really is. The final scenes of the film say a lot about our culture of voyeurism, and ultimately the film manages to get under the viewer’s skin and stay there.
I really enjoyed it.
The Den is recommended for all of you Netflix streamers out there, and can also be found for sale on DVD here. It is eerily effective for those of us addicted to cyberspace, and particularly haunting to watch in the dark on your computer when you are home alone.
Let me know in the comments if you guys would be interested in more of these “Netflix Roulette” posts.



Doomsday is coming. What are you going to wear?

Book Review : The Dreadful Death Of Edgar Switchblade

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Best known as one half of the incredible Gothic country duo Those Poor Bastards, singer/songwriter Lonesome Wyatt has proven to have many more tricks up his sleeve. In addition to his distinctly desperate howling on the many TPB albums, he has his own band known as The Holy Spooks which bring a creepy edge to his songs of desperation. A fantastic duet album with alt-country goddess Rachel Brooke released in 2009 showed us a slightly lighter shade of his consistent dark side. And now, along with his prolific musical output, he has added the title of accomplished author to his resume, with his new novel The Dreadful Death of Edgar Switchblade.

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A follow-up to 2012′s introduction to the colorful character, The Terrible Tale of Edgar Switchblade, the new book is a fast-paced violent trip into the warped mind of our pal, Mr. Lonesome.
Edgar Switchblade is a fascinating character; a religiously-obsessed mentally-disturbed cannibalistic bounty hunter born with cloven hooves. With his trusty horse Old Red by his side, who also enjoys quenching his thirst with human blood, and armed only with a deadly switchblade, Edgar wanders the world with the righteous intentions of cleansing the earth of the mad sinners and foul spirits which now plague it.
In the introductory novel, we learned the details of Ol’ Edgar’s strange upbringing, and followed him on a fast-paced first-person western/horror adventure into the darkness of Lonesome Wyatt’s fiercely imagined world.

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In the new book, written with the same distinct quick and dirty intensity of the first volume, we catch up with Edgar and Old Red right in the middle of a gruesome zombie apocalypse. Edgar dispatches the undead masses with gory glee and moves on to meet the man who commissioned his services, a mysterious character known as Reverend Hitchcock.
After taking some time to warm up to the Reverend, the trio finally join forces to embark on a holy mission to destroy an ancient demon wizard. Bizarre characters and uniquely chaotic scenes bring about the titular “death” of our heroes, but it takes a lot more than the notion of leaving his earthly body to stop Ol’ Edgar.
The writing is the star of the show, as Mr. Wyatt somehow manages to make the gruesome deeds and thoughts of Edgar Switchblade seem downright charming. He can slish and slash at the undead hordes until his trusty horse gets his fill, all in the name of his godly conviction. The turns of phrase are unique and convincing, as well-defined as any character in recent memory.
These twisted tales are not for everyone’s taste, for sure. They are violent and irreverent, and at times shockingly sacriligious, but all in the name of classic pulp fiction straight from the EC comics mold. Even the design of the thin volumes works to evoke that feeling ; the books themselves appearing wrinkled and tattered and edged with red paper, like something you would find on a magazine rack in a pharmacy decades ago.

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Readers will find themselves rooting for Edgar, even as they are repulsed by his words and deeds. He is the genuine article, a character so convinced of his own motivations that nothing stands in his way. These stories are fast and fun reads for us horror fans, and we can only hope that Mr. Wyatt can keep on spinning these tales for us in the coming years.
I know that I can’t wait to see what kind of horrific misadventures Edgar and Red will get into next.
As Edgar himself says at one point, “I still got so much Godly Violence and Cleansing to perform on this shit smeared world.
Both the books and all of the Lonesome Wyatt and Those Poor Bastards albums are available at the official Tribulation Recording Co. website, including a bonus audio adventure where Edgar teams up with Krampus (!) to teach children the true meaning of Christmas.
Lonesome Wyatt also has a great Facebook page, as does Edgar Switchblade himself!

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Horror Comics at TFAW.com

It is here at last! The Company of Shadows by Paul Gerrard.

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It all started with an idea. An idea to take a stale franchise and breathe new life into a beloved horror film series. An iconic character redesigned, FX in place, and two creative masters at the helm, and the impressive Hellraiser: Origins trailer was born.

Being a big Hellraiser fan myself and seeing the ambition and potential from the trailer, I knew I had to keep a close eye on this project, which was clearly a labor of love. So I stayed in touch with Paul Gerrard over time to get updates and the latest news on the project. After hearing the project would not be picked up, mainly due to the original creator, Clive Barker, expressing his interest in revisiting Hellraiser, I was sorely disappointed.

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But Paul never wanted to let his vision die. Not only did he continue to create within that universe, he expanded upon it with a plethora of twisted new and exciting characters from god )or maybe something darker and older would be more fitting) only knows what perverse universe. Placenta Boy seemed to be the perfect poster boy for this campaign. For from something that was dead, birthed something more aberrant, more mad and beautifully grotesque than his deepest desires of hell.

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The Company of Shadows kickstarter was then thrust into a world where it would not be widely understood, if only because of its boldness to be original. His twisted notions of character design and body horror is the star in this, exceedingly brilliant with each turn of the page, art book. Accompanying each character is a fascinatingly written outline of that characters origins, past/present, and/or future, which really adds to its jaw dropping unearthly visuals. I have read and had my mind and psyche devour and absorb these pages over and over again. The great thing about this book is there is something new to see each time. Each detail, no matter how small, is painstakingly added for a reason. The images and the symbols found within, resonate in your subconscious well after putting it down.

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What resides in this tome is something that is uniquely important and better yet proof, to those that still believe there is still primordial creativity and new ideas swarming about in the minds of a few. One of the many great things about owning this book is knowing your money will be going towards making new IP’s using some of the characters from the book.

Paul Gerrard is best known for his work in Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans, and even the new blockbuster hit TMNT, but I believe he will now be best known for his masterpiece, The Company of Shadows.

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Horror Comics at TFAW.com

Director Billy Pon sends in the homicidal serial rapist clowns for “Circus Of The Dead”!

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“Nobody likes a clown at midnight.”
- Stephen King

Coulrophobia appears to be at an all time high right now, with evil clowns reaching heights of popularity we have never seen the likes of before. Rob Zombie has just introduced his new killer clown flick 31 to the wonders of the internet, a big screen remake of Stephen King’s “It” is reportedly in production, and the real world is filling up with juggalos and Northhampton Clown copycats.
Recent horror flicks like Stitches, All Hallow’s Eve and The Last Circus have all tapped into this fast spreading inexplicable fear of clowns to varying degrees of success. And then Circus Of The Dead shows up to teach them all how it is done…
Circus Of The Dead is sure to be two of the dirtiest, most morally-bankrupt, sadistic hours of your life. A film that has no boundaries, and acts only to push yours, this chaotic clown rampage is not one that you will soon forget. Director Billy Pon has earned the nickname “Bloody Bill”, without a doubt.

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After a quick introduction to our colorful clowns that instantly let’s us know they mean business, the film gets started inconspicuously enough. We meet the Johnson family, who seem to be the whole package, as they head out for family fun time at the local circus.
Unfortunately for them, this Circus is under the dark influence of Papa Corn and he has his own demented idea of what passes for entertainment. The top-notch performance from Bill Oberst Jr. as “Papa” is a particular stand-out among some of the other slightly underwhelming performances. Mr. Oberst, a ubiquitous mainstay in many modern horror films, attacks this role with demented glee, managing to go from eerily calm to frothing lunatic at a moment’s notice.

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At first, Papa Corn appears to select his victim’s somewhat at random, using an old deck of tarot-like cards as the only method to his madness. Described as a variation of “Bingo from Mexico”, Papa sets his eye on the obvious choice at the big top show — the MILF holding a corn dog in one hand and dabbing mustard from her cleavage with the other!

Armed with a staple gun, an electric carving knife, a blowtorch and various other misappropriated tools, Poppa and his crew abduct Johnson’s wife and daughters and proceed to force him to participate in their planned twisted rampage if he ever wants to see them again.
Now when I say “twisted rampage”, I mean it. I consider myself to be a pretty damn jaded horror fan (for better or worse) but a few of these scenes actually had me wincing and cringing with disbelief.

Be warned, this film is not for the easily offended. This is a balls-out, mean-ass horror film!

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The director takes the story to places so depraved and sadistic, and there is a level of real cruelty and extreme apathy at work here that is rarely seen in any film. It is as if “Papa Corn” has taken the agent of chaos theory from his fellow cinematic clown “The Joker” to a whole new extreme.

Taking tonal cues from classic exploitation films and amping them up for the new millennium, Circus Of The Dead builds to an insanely hectic stalk and slash climax at an old movie theater playing a double feature of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Jaws”. The clown carnage reaches a bloody crescendo here, and leaves us with one of the most cruel final acts since Frank Darabont’s adaptation of “The Mist”.

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If you can take any more, be sure and stay tuned for a surprise after the credits, which revisits Doll-Boy, a character from Bloody Bill’s earlier short film which inspired this feature.
This is a horror film made with passion for fans of dirty old school thrills with a cruel streak. Worth watching for Bill Oberst Jr.’s hypnotic performance alone, the level of anarchy otherwise on display here is more than enough to satisfy gore lovers and cinematic sociopaths of any kind.
Currently touring festivals and making appearances in various theaters in the director’s native Texas, Circus Of The Dead is still looking for the distributor with the balls to release this film to a wide audience.
Stay tuned to the official Circus Of The Dead Facebook page for more news and updates on when you will be able to see this deranged masterpiece for yourselves.
Recommended.
Grade : B+



Horror Comics at TFAW.com

New from Wild Eye Releasing : “Blood Soaked” and “Invasion Of The Scream Queens”!

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Our friends at Wild Eye Releasing have a pair of treats in store for horror fans coming at you today, June 17th!
This independent horror distribution company is helping us to ring in the summer with something old and something new.

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First up is director Peter Grendle’s new film “Blood Soaked”, a low budget genre and style mash-up that more than lives up to it’s title. This one has got it all : young college lesbians, hate crimes, torture porn, and even cannibalistic Nazi zombies. As independent as it gets, this “everything but the kitchen sink” flick is undeniably entertaining.

After having the misfortune of running into two twisted redneck sisters on the back roads, two cute co-eds get put through the wringer. Shot outside of Santa Fe New Mexico, where horror films and culture are still very taboo, Blood Soaked is based on Grendle’s independent short film “This Side Of Nightmare”.

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Featuring 100% practical effects, the film keeps the audience off-kilter by switching between color and black and white footage, and covering the cast in buckets of blood. It is a fun flick for any fans of independent do-it-yourself horror, and I can’t wait to see what this director does in the future!

The DVD release of Blood Soaked exclusively includes a commentary with director Peter Grendle, a commentary with the cast, a live audience track from the Pollygrind Film Festival, the short film This Side of Nightmare, a cast video introduction, trailers and an mp3 download from Eternal of Wu-Tang Killa Bees.

Find more information about Blood Soaked on their official Facebook page, and order your copy here!

 

Also being released today is a re-issue of the early 90s documentary “Invasion Of The Scream Queens”. From a time when that was still a new term, this classic takes a long look at the exploitation and horror flicks of the late 70s and early 80s, featuring  fascinating interviews with Michelle Bauer, Brinke Stevens, Mary Woronov and many more.
For the first time on DVD, you can get to know all of your favorite B-movie actresses and hear them tell their own stories.

The DVD release of Invasion of the Scream Queens exclusively includes a new 2013 interview with Donald Farmer, deleted/ extended interviews from the original production, and an excerpt featuring Linnea Quigley from the out of print book that started it all, Invasion of the Scream Queens.

Get your copy here!

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To find these new releases and much more, check out the Wild Eye Shop and help support independent horror films and distributors!

 

Horror Comics at TFAW.com

Full Moon Streaming brings back the scream queens for “Trophy Heads”!

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After decades of bringing us the best of B-horror on V/H/S and DVD, legendary horror director Charles Band and his Full Moon Studios are now leading the way in this new era of high-speed distribution.

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Debuting Full Moon Streaming a few months back, the studio brings an extensive collection of classic horror and exploitation films readily available at the click of a mouse. Think of it as “Netflix for horror geeks”. Adding new titles and rewards often, this move into cyber-distribution is a great move that benefits the fans the most. In addition to the many titles available from the back-catalogue of classics, they have begun an original series for streaming as well.
Trophy Heads, which premiered last week on June 6th, tells the story of Max, a die-hard fan of the classic 80′s horror flicks and his dream of returning his favorite scream queens to their former glory.

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Max lives in the basement of his mother’s house and watches horror tapes in his underwear all day long (Don’t we all?). After being suddenly inspired along his new dark path, Max sets his sights on his first victim, Darcy DeMoss. Hunting her down and brutally removing her head in the opening of the first episode, Max finds that it is really hard to keep a good scream queen down. That’s right, just because her head is detached from her body, she doesn’t stop busting his balls.
Max explains that he is making what he considers to be “performance art”, rather than perfectly recreate scenes from the movies. His goal is to re-imagine them in his own twisted version of his own horrific production.

Armed with an electrified cattle-prod and the love of his supportive mother, Max sets out on his mission to insure that the starlets he is obsessed with are never forgotten. On his list are Darcy DeMoss (the first victim), Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, Denice Duff, and Jacqueline Lovell.
The premiere episode sets the show up perfectly, and the second episode (which premieres today June 11th) follows through with a vengeance as Max continues his work. Building a small prison in his basement apartment, Max takes Brinke (now a massage therapist) and a young topless girl (who seems to be there just to show us some quick wit and young boobies and I am not complaining) captive and throws them in the brig, before seeking out the one-and-only Linnea Quigley (who is now hilariously a door-to-door evangelist).
Slowly realizing the reality of the situation they find themselves in, the ladies are forced to watch the decapitation of their old friend Darcy, as they are dressed in costumes inspired by some of their old films.
The show is gloriously cheeseball and over-the-top, you know, just like those old films we know and love. It even makes some pretty damn clever commentary about the current state of rampant remakes and “artistic reinterpretations”.
The show is fun and funny, and well worth a look for any self-respecting horror fan.
I have seen the first three episodes now (PS legendary director Stuart Gordon shows up in the third episode!), and they are without a doubt a bloody good time.
Definitely recommended.
Sign up for Full Moon Streaming here, and take a look at the second episode which premieres today!
One last thing.
The generous folks at Full Moon Studios have a fantastic contest going on right now, intended to help spread the word about this original new program.
The rules and prizes can be seen here, and simply submit a selfie to this e-mail address submit@fullmoonfeatures.com and you are entered to win!
Good luck!

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Original Horror Shirts

First look at Dead Island 2, and it is awesome!

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After wowing us with the first Dead Island game in 2011, and underwhelming us last year with the side story Riptide, the Dead Island franchise looks like it is ready to shock and awe us once again.
The original game burst on to the scene with an incredibly cinematic trailer that hooked zombie fans right away. Although the gameplay was completely different, there was no denying the power of that trailer.
Now, the sequel is coming at a time of severe “zombie fatigue” for many of us horror fans, but it proves to be just as compelling as the original. Check it out below :

Yeah, I know. Bad ass.
Here’s hoping that the game is as creative and fun as that teaser was.
According to the official press release :
Several months after the events on Banoi, the United States military has put the Golden State under full quarantine. Now a restricted zone, California has become a bloody paradise for those who refuse to leave their homes and an action-packed playground for renegades who seek adventure, glory and a fresh start. Combining the classic Dead Island elements of immersive close combat, action and role-playing, Dead Island 2 features crazy, never-before-seen handcrafted weapons and over-the-top characters in taking players from the iconic Golden Gate to the celebrated beachfront boardwalk of southern California’’s Venice Beach.

Scheduled for release in Spring 2015 on PS4, Xbox One and PC, this title definitely has my interest peaked. Sony says the game will be home to a 30-day exclusive beta on PS4, and that PlayStation players will also get access to an exclusive character. 8-player co-op sounds amazing!
Let’s hope the gameplay proves to be as cool as the sneak peek.
Stay tuned for more details about this upcoming release right here on Horror Homework.

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Nicholas Vince gives us great insight into “Other People’s Darkness”

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“If I tell you the room is haunted, you’ll go in looking for a ghost–hoping you’re special enough to see one. You want to be special, part of the story. So you’ll do your best to see the ghost. That’s all ghosts are. Stories, which grow in the telling and we all want to be part of a good story.”

- Nicholas Vince, “Other People’s Darkness”

In the original Hellraiser films the “Chatterer” Cenobite didn’t really do much, other than sticking his fingers halfway down Kirsty’s throat, but he had an undeniably fearsome presence and has endured for decades now as an iconic monster.
In contrast, the actor who originally portrayed this demon, Nicholas Vince, is a very busy man and prolific author. After starring in the first two (read : best) Hellraiser films, and playing the great character of Kinski in Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, Mr. Vince kept himself busy in the IT industry, and writing for several different comic book series’, before returning to the horror genre.
Embracing his enduring legacy as the sinister Cenobite, Mr. Vince recently began hitting the horror cons. Widely known by convention attendees as a handsome charmer, it is obvious he has a great love of the dark side of life, and is very involved in the horror community and social media. He contributes to the Official Hellraiser Facebook page, along with his own page, and has begun holding a series of fascinating “hangouts” on Google+.
In 2012, he released his first collection of short stories, “What Monsters Do”, and saw it go on to be produced as a stage play last year. Creatively booming, he has continued his hard work in 2014, starring in the short film “M is for Metamorphosis”, joining the cast of Ashley Thorpe‘s upcoming Borley Rectory, and releasing another collection of short stories, entitled “Other People’s Darkness”.

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The book contains five genuinely creepy short tales, each one told from a unique perspective. The stories in this volume are titled and described as follows :

“Other People’s Darkness”: The world didn’t end on December 21, 2012, but Scott was given a gift—a terrible gift.

“Having Once Turned Round”: Red strawberry jam reminds Gregory he is about to murder love.

“Spoilers”: A visitor to a mansion brings deadly news.

“This Too Solid Flesh”: Tanya is Caroline’s best friend, and Caroline hates her. She enters the poison garden…

“Why Won’t They Tell Me?”: London, 1883. Eight-year-old Cassie wants the police to tell her what will happen to her, now that her family are dead. Perhaps if they believed her story, they would?

Personally, I love short story collections, and was excited to dive into this one!
Other People’s Darkness takes a long unflinching look at the darkness deep inside each and every one of us, and the monsters in these stories are very human.
Without a doubt, supernatural and strange events occur throughout these five stories, but in the end the theme seems to be that the most horrible things are the things we do to each other.

For example, in the story “This Too Solid Flesh”, a young woman is haunted by a ghost, but the haunter is not the bringer of horrible events, the woman is. In fact, all of the stories seem to bear this similar line of thought, even though the characters and situations are all wildly different. This one is a great example of Mr. Vince’s talent at creating characters across all spectrums of humanity, as the focus is on two very different female room-mates and their day to day lives, loves and dark secrets.

My personal favorite of the stories, “Having Once Turned Round”, tells the tale of Gregory, a man stuck in a drab loveless marriage, who arranges a getaway with his former lover, Alex. A horrible accident forces Gregory to make hard decisions and find a way to deal with the nightmare scenario that follows. The strong and believable character arc of Gregory as this strange story unfolds is a fascinating and resonating look at the true nature of some people and the secrets they keep. The character rings true in so many ways, and is an insightful look into the dark thoughts deep inside us all.
Did I mention that this story is insane? It is, and in the best ways. This story alone is worth the purchase.

“Spoilers” is a tense and intimate look at imminent death, and poses a fascinating theory at the forces at work behind the one thing no one can escape. Reading this story, I felt like it would make a great stage play, and I even posed that question to the author at his last Google Hangout. The response was that this story is being adapted as a film, which is great news. It has all the potential for a great minimalist film, as long as the leads are as convincing as the words written here.

The titular tale “Other People’s Darkness” starts the book off running with a fantastic opening line, telling the story of two friends reuniting years after one has left to join the army. After an accident involving an irresponsible driver, one of the young men begins to inexplicably see his friends in shades of red and grey. Desperate to understand what has happened to him, the story goes through some tragic motions and leaves the main character Scott with a dangerous power and some serious emotional issues. The tone is bleak but somehow still hopeful, and leaves the reader with the same feeling of helplessness as Scott.

“Why Wont They Tell Me?” is an atmospheric look at a family of “theatrical folk”, told from the point of view of an 8-year-old girl in 1883. Further proving the author’s deep understanding of people from all walks of life, this first-person story is eerily effective at making the reader squirm. A story of shadows and secrets, this one closes the book on a high note.

Over all, the stories in this collection are engrossing and fun reads, balancing seamlessly between darkly funny and cripplingly sad. Recommended reading for all fans of horror fiction.
Find your copy here, and keep yourself up to date with what this prolific author comes up with next by following Nicholas Vince on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

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Horror Comics at TFAW.com

The new Nightbreed comic book series is off to a great start!

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It is certainly a great time for fans of Clive Barker and his classic tale of misfits and monsters, Nightbreed. First appearing in the novella Cabal in 1988 and starring in an underwhelming theatrical release in 1990, Barker’s cast of memorable monsters have taken root as genuine cult classics and mainstays of popular horror culture.

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Telling the story of the end of Midian, the place where monsters go, the novel and film tell a tale that nearly any kind of outcast can relate to. Persecuted for their strange appearances and odd customs (admittedly eating the flesh of humans), the members of the Nightbreed have found a sanctuary in their little town, which comes unraveled when a young man wanders in and exposes their secrets. The original story is a classic tragedy full of fascinating characters and dark humor, and is finally getting some recognition for what a true work of art it was and is.

Last year, the “Cabal Cut” of the film toured in select theaters, and is scheduled for release on Blu-Ray later this year from Scream Factory! I was lucky enough to catch the one of the screenings in LA last October, where Mr. Barker was present and spoke about the long journey to get his vision on the screen at last.
That fascinating Q & A was transcribed and can be read here.

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Also on the radar for fans of Nightbreed is talk of a television series. With the current trend of classic films being re-imagined and translated to the small screen, this one seems like a no-brainer. I asked the question directly to Nicholas Vince (who played Kinski in the film) last week during his fascinating Google+ hangout and got this answer (around the 52-minute mark) :

So yes, it looks like a Nightbreed television series could be a reality in the near future!

Also coming soon is a unique anthology collection of short stories expanding on the Nightbreed mythology entitled Midian Unmade. The publishers were open for submissions last year, and I even wrote my own short story for hopeful inclusion, but it sadly was rejected. You can read it here, if you are into that sort of thing.
I am honestly very much looking forward to reading this book when it is released later this year from Tor Books.

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And last, but definitely not least, this week saw the release of a brand new Nightbreed ongoing comic book series from Boom! studios. Based on an original story from Clive Barker, the new series seems to be an epic expansion of the mythology he set in motion 25 years ago.

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Written by Marc Andreyko, and wonderfully illustrated by Piotr Kowalski, the first issue sets the stage quickly in the modern day, as we see Lylesburg safe and sound in another underground cavern. He quickly introduces us to the story before it starts jumping around to different time periods, setting up the wide scope of the universe quickly and efficiently. The storyline picks up in  Lacombe, Louisiana in 1857, where we see that our old friend Peloquin has been doing his “Beast mode” thing for a long time.

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Then we are in Boston Massachussets in 1945, seeing the world of the lovely Shuna Sassi, and an interesting take on her origins. The issue is fast-paced and an interesting kick-off to what could potentially be some great new stories of our favorite characters of the Nightbreed. While I look forward to seeing more of the story of what became of the remnants of the Breed after their sanctuary home was destroyed at the end of the film, it is definitely a great idea to look at the roots of these now-iconic characters and find out where they came from.

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Here’s hoping this creative team can deliver the best of both worlds for us die-hard fans of Nightbreed. They are off to a great start with issue #1 of this ongoing monthly series, and I am very much looking forward to the next few issues!

It is definitely a good time to be a Nightbreed fan!

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Doomsday is coming. What are you going to wear?

New On Netflix : Birth Of The Living Dead!

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It is impossible to deny the impact of George Romero’s “Night Of The Living Dead” on horror culture, film, and the world in general. In the decades since the film’s initial release in 1968, it changed the way horror was perceived in mainstream culture, and influenced several generations of low-budget filmmakers and artists.

However, according to living legend George Romero, “It was no big thing, man. Just a bunch of friends getting together to try and make a movie.”

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The new film “Birth Of The Living Dead” chronicles Romero’s journey from the very beginning, directing shorts for Mr. Rogers and shooting beer commercials in his native Pittsburgh. This new documentary features some outstanding original artwork from Ghoulish Gary Pullin, and interviews with genre staples like Larry Fessenden and Mr. Romero himself that prove to be insightful and interesting, and force us to look at the film in possibly new ways.

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Night Of The Living Dead has gone on to be known as a game-changer, and many of the social connotations of the film have stood the test of time, but at the time, 27-year-old Romero’s idea was simply to “make a horror film as ballsy as we could make”.

Romero is an easy-going narrator in this documentary, funny and down-to-earth, and even all these years later, still seems a bit bewildered by what he got away with way back then. While he had no idea he was doing it at the time, Romero re-invented the concept of the  zombie and essentially added a brand new monster to the landscape of horror culture.

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Birth Of The Living Dead is a documentary filled with lively commentary and interesting notes from the cast and crew of the legendary production. For example, most of the on-screen zombies were local newscasters and clients from local ad agencies that were apparently humoring Romero and his collaborators.

Also interesting to note is something that never really occurred to me as I watched the film in the past (as a child of the 70′s) is the way it tackled racism. The fact that the lead was a black man, and it was never even remarked upon, was a breakthrough at the time of a chaotic political and racial climate.The documentary takes a fascinating closer look at the unsettling culture of fear and racial inequality at the time of the film’s production, and proves just how “ballsy” Romero and his team actually were. Great stuff!

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The only parts of the film that fell flat to me are the cuts to a teacher showing the film to a  classroom of modern children and hearing their take on it. This whole scenario feels very forced and stilted, and I wish the film-makers wouldn’t have wasted their time and resources on this unnecessary side-bar.

All in all, “Birth Of The Living Dead” is fun and fascinating watch, and it is especially interesting to think about the challenges Romero and team faced during the production of this cult classic back in the turbulent late 60′s.

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Of course, not everything is explained. People who are still looking for the answers to what actually caused the zombie outbreak will have to take solace in the fact that some things should remain a mystery.
“God changed the rules,” Romero says simply, by way of explanation.

Freshly added to the Netflix Streaming service, this film can also be found here for purchase from Amazon. More information about the film can be had on the official Birth Of The Living Dead Facebook page.
This is recommended viewing for any fan of horror.
Grade : B+

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